Toilet Gator – Chapter 70


Britney sat back in her hospital bed, too nauseous to even look at the jello on her tray table. Rusty stood by while Bishop read from his notes.

“So you’re telling me you saw something that was green, at least fifteen feet long, four legs, must have weighed over eight hundred pounds, enormous teeth…”

“And it hissed at me,” Britney said.

“Ma’am,” Bishop said. “I don’t mean to sound rude but had you been drinking that night?”

“No,” Britney said.

“Drugs?” Bishop asked.

“No,” Britney said.

“A little coke, perhaps?” Bishop said. “A little marijuana?”

“No,” Britney said.

“It’s cool,” Bishop said. “I know what college is like.”

“I wasn’t on anything,” Britney said.

“Ma’am,” Bishop said. “I know you might think you have to say you weren’t because we’re law enforcement officers but honestly, I have no interest in busting you for a little bit of drug dabbling. I just need to know the truth.”

Britney grew frustrated. “That’s the truth!”

“That you saw an enormous alligator?” Bishop asked.

“Yes,” Britney said. “No. I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” Bishop asked.

“It looked like an alligator,” Britney said. “But it was so big. I’ve seen alligators at the zoo before but nothing this big. I don’t think they normally get that big do they?”

“I have no idea,” Bishop said.

“So all I’m saying is it must have been bigger than a regular alligator,” Britney said. “Like it must have been a dinosaur.”

Bishop scoffed. “A dinosaur?!”
Britney closed her eyes. “Whatever. You asked. I told you.”

Bishop nodded. “Have you told me everything?”

“Yes,” Britney said.

“Are you sure?” Bishop asked.

“Yes!” Britney said.

Bishop reviewed his notes. “You and the other kids were arguing while Chad Becker was defecating on the toilet. Next thing you know, wham, you’re on the ground and the last thing you see is some type of prehistoric alligator-like beast, possibly a dinosaur due to its abnormally large size.”

“You got it,” Britney said.

“Miss Chase,” Bishop said. “None of the other kids reported seeing this alleged creature.”

“I don’t know,” Britney said. “I just know what I saw.”

Bishop looked at his notebook. “Then again, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in that you’re the only one whose head wasn’t pinned under the bathroom stall wall.”

“See?” Britney said. “There you go.”

Rusty looked at Bishop, presumably making a silent request to speak up. Bishop nodded in the affirmative.

“Britney,” Rusty said. “You mind if I call you, ‘Britney?’”

“I guess,” Britney said.

“What are you studying at Sitwell?” Rusty asked.

Bishop looked confused as well as curious as to where Rusty was going with this line of questioning.

“Nursing,” Britney said.

“You putting yourself through school?” Rusty asked.

“Yes,” Britney said.

“Job?” Rusty asked.

“I’m a cashier at Price Town,” Britney said.

“You like that kind of work?” Rusty asked.

“No,” Britney said.

“Why not?” Rusty asked.

“Little old ladies come up to me all the time to bitch me out over the price of everything,” Britney said. “They’re all like, ‘I could get this for half the price down the street’ and I feel like saying, ‘Well, why don’t you move your ass and go down there then, bitch?’”

Rusty smirked. “Family commitments?”

“I’ve got a little brother I have to babysit when he gets home from school,” Britney said. “Both my parents work.”

“So you don’t live on campus?” Rusty asked.

“No,” Britney said.

“That’s kinda sad,” Rusty said.

“It is?” Britney asked

“Yeah,” Rusty replied. “You’re missing out on the party scene.”

Britney shrugged her shoulders. “I’ve been to a few parties. Every time I go thinking it’ll be fun. Every time I leave because it’s just a bunch of drunk losers grinding on each other and puking all over the place. That last one, that’s the last one I’ll ever go to. I’m done with college parties.”

Rusty turned to Bishop. “That’s all I’ve got.”

Bishop drummed his fingers across the armrest of the chair he was sitting in. He pondered his next move for a moment before asking a question. “Do you know of anyone with a reason to hurt Chad?”

“To hurt Chad?” Britney asked.

“Yeah,” Bishop asked. “Someone who hated him, despised him.”

Britney laughed. “How much time have you got?”

“The list is that big?” Bishop asked.

“He used women and threw them away like they were nothing,” Britney said. “Pretty much every woman on campus had a reason to hate him.”

“Yourself included?” Bishop asked.

Britney sighed. “I hated him for awhile but then I just started feeling sorry for him, like there must have been something broken inside of him that he could have that much sex with so many different women but still never feel satisfied, you know?”

“Tell me about it,” Rusty blurted out.

Seeing that no one found his joke funny, Rusty slinked back into the corner of the room.

“You kept hanging out with him after the break-up?” Bishop asked.

“Yeah,” Britney said. “I don’t know. That was stupid I guess. I was just hoping that maybe he’d change but deep down, I knew he never would.”

“Anyone else with a grudge against him?” Bishop asked.

“He was rude to practically everyone,” Britney said. “He’d walk down the halls and just shout out insults to people. If you were short, or fat, or ugly or whatever. He’d find something to make fun of.”

“Sounds like a dick,” Bishop said.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Britney said.

Britney looked around the room and took a deep breath, apparently scared to mention something else. “He dealt drugs.”

Bishop lit up. “He did?”

“Marijuana,” Britney said. “Everybody on campus knew. He was the guy everyone went to.”

“He have any after him for that?” Bishop asked. “Disgruntled customer? Maybe a supplier he cheated?”

“I have no idea,” Britney said. “I never found out about that until after we broke up. I wouldn’t have dated him had I known. I never asked him about it after. I didn’t really want to know. I just know what I heard around campus.”

“Huh,” Bishop said as he stood up. “Alright then. Take care of yourself, Miss Chase. Hope you feel better.”

Rusty and Bishop exited the room and headed down the hallway.

“What do you think?” Rusty asked.

Bishop pinched his thumb and pointer finger together, then put them up against his mouth and made a sucking sound, as though he were enjoying an invisible doobie.

“You think she’s a druggie?” Rusty asked.
“Of course,” Bishop said. “Give me a break that she didn’t know her boyfriend was a dealer. She’s just trying to cover for herself.”

“I don’t know,” Rusty said. “She seemed pretty solid, a little more mature than the average college kid.”

“How so?” Bishop asked.

“She’s got a job that she hates but goes to anyway because she needs the money,” Rusty said.

“Welcome to adulthood,” Bishop said.

“Exactly,” Rusty replied.

The duo reached the elevator. Bishop pushed the call button. The doors opened and they headed for the ground floor.

“She lives at home and takes care of her brother,” Rusty said. “Probably has parents nagging on her. Probably doing her best to work hard and save up so she can get out on her own.”

“Not one of these kids whose content to sit on Mom and Dad’s couch until they’re forty-five,” Bishop said.

“Exactly,” Rusty said.

“So OK,” Bishop said. “Maybe she didn’t have a drug induced hallucination. Maybe she just hit her head really hard on the floor and it scrambled her brains.”

“You think?” Rusty said.

“Well,” Bishop said. “The only other option is that an actual dinosaur sized alligator jumped up though the toilet and ate Chad Becker. You think that really happened?”

Rusty and Chad stared at each other blankly for a few seconds, then burst out in laughter together.

“Aww shit,” Rusty said. “Toilet gator. That’s a good one.”

The duo reached the ground level. They stepped out of the elevator and walked through the lobby.

“So, what now?” Rusty asked.

“Buford Dufresne,” Bishop said.

“What about him?” Rusty asked.

“He’s our only real lead,” Bishop said. “It was odd that he was at his mother’s house in the middle of the night. Odd that he was screaming about how he tried to warn her about something. We never really got an answer to any of that.”

“That guy’s always been the town weirdo,” Rusty said. “Never really grew up because his rich Daddy always took care of him.”

“Sounds like a guy with a lot of time on his hands,” Bishop said.

“Time to plot something big?” Rusty asked.

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Bishop said.

“Aww but,” Rusty said. “I can’t go anywhere near that kid. He’s the Mayor’s boy and Hammond is the Mayor’s bitch. Those two are tighter than a pair of skinny jeans.”

Rusty unlocked his cruiser and hopped into the driver’s seat. Bishop took the passenger’s side.

“Don’t worry about it,” Bishop said.

“I am worried about it,” Rusty said. “He already fired Cole. I don’t need to be sacked too.”

“I’m a federal investigator and I’ve commandeered your services,” Bishop said. “If Hammond gets up your ass, I’ll swat him down.”

“Huh,” Rusty said as he backed out of his parking space. “I like the sound of that. Where to?”

“Let’s look around town,” Bishop said. “See if we can’t find out what Buford is up to.”

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